Frustrations boil up at code enforcement forum

Published 7:39 pm Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Former Selma city councilwoman Jannie Venter asks a question Monday during the city’s code enforcement meeting. (Josh Bergeron | Times-Journal)

Former Selma city councilwoman Jannie Venter asks a question Monday during the city’s code enforcement meeting. (Josh Bergeron | Times-Journal)

Some Selma residents think the city is getting a little trashy.

During a code enforcement forum Monday, Selma residents overwhelmingly said others aren’t doing their part to keep the city clean.

Garbage was perhaps one of the more hotly contested topics during the meetings.

Email newsletter signup

“We have all these celebrities coming to our city and it is just as dirty as it can be,” said former city councilwoman and Selma resident Jannie Venter.

When possible, code enforcement tries to find the person responsible for dumping trash, but recently the task has become increasingly difficult. Code enforcement officer Darryl Moore said he could previously find the person responsible for dumping trash by looking for a mailing address on discarded envelopes.

“People that are dumping trash are just getting smarter,” Moore said. “Now, they are just dumping raw trash.”

He said the blame shouldn’t be entirely placed on Selma residents, as others — from Marion and Dallas County — may travel to Selma, find a street, dump trash and leave.

Attendees and city officials contemplated several ways to help solve the trash problem, including reporting violations, but local business owner Nancy Bennett said the real problem was that violators were absent.

“It’s so frustrating to do business in this community and do the right thing when everybody else just does what they please,” Bennett said. “The problem is that we are here and the others aren’t.”

The code enforcement also addressed bagging leaves, dilapidated houses and community policing.

Scott Swanson, a former police officer who now works in the city’s code enforcement department talked about abandoned bagging leaves for city pickup, among other topics.

Swanson told reminded attendees that all leaves must be placed in trash bags for pickup. He said city trucks would not pick up large piles of leaves on the roadside.

The conversation quickly morphed into a discussion about the effect of the truck’s claws on the surrounding area.

Attendees said the repeated pickup can dig holes where trash is placed.

One solution to the problem is a small mat that Ward 2 councilwoman Susan Keith purchased that prevents holes from forming, Swanson said.

Lt. Curtis Muhannad, with the Selma Police Department, also addressed community policing, which is something the police department is trying to focus on.

“Community policing is like when police would walk through your neighborhood and knew all of your kids names,” he said.

Community policing and dilapidated house discussion merged when resident told Muhannad that crumbling houses are often used to hide stolen property after a burglary.

Commercial property may also be subject to the same problems, Selma resident Sharon Jackson said.

“It’s not just residential properties,” Jackson said. “There are some of the same problems with commercial buildings.”

Muhannad advised residents not to enter crumbling structures alone and rather call police if he or she thinks stolen property may be hidden.

“You don’t want to run across someone that doesn’t have anything to live for,” he said.